【 History of the Museum 】
The First Archaeological Museum in Northern Taiwan
The Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology was established in conjunction to the “rescue excavation” undertaken at the Shihsanhang Archaeological Site in 1990. At that time, Taiwan Provincial Government’s Department of Housing and Development planned to build a sewage treatment plant on top of the site. A group of noted archaeologists launched a campaign to rescue the artifacts at Shihsanhang, and they were able to garner a large amount of public support. As a result, the site was recognized as a second-class Historic Site, and part of the original site was ordered to be preserved. The Shihsanhang site is now a National Historic Site.
In 1992, the Executive Yuan Council ordered the Taipei County government to establish a Shihsanhang Site Exhibition Room to display the objects that were unearthed. It was renamed to "Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology" in 1998. It’s objectives were to preserve and display artifacts unearthed at the Shihsanhang Site, to serve as the archaeological museum of northern Taiwan, and to serve as an educational center to teach people about the importance of the prehistoric culture. After its official opening in 2003, the Museum has also become an ecomuseum of the Bali Left Bank area.
The Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology cost NT$380 million to build, paid for by both the federal, Taipei County and New Taipei County (since 2010) governments. Construction of the main buildings, the outdoor plaza and parking lot began in 2000, and the project was completed in 2003.
【 Buildings 】
Winner of the 2002 "Taiwan Architecture Prize" and the 2003 “Far Eastern Architect Awards”
The Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology was designed by architect Te-hung Sun.The main idea of design the museum was based directly on archaeological excavation and
the fact that our ancestors crossed the great ocean and reached the coast of Bali by canoe.The Museum is composed of three distinctive building groups, representing the mountain, the ocean and time.The building materials include exposed concrete, sandstone and highly plastic titanium alloy.
The steel structure represents the ocean, with its structural lines radiating toward the sea. The slightly angled roof represents a sand dune or the back of a whale swimming in the sea, images the people of Shihsanhang would have been familiar with as part of their daily lives. Visitors take the steps to an elevated viewing platform from where they can gaze into the vastness of the ocean and enjoy the novel experience of standing on the roof of one of the museum buildings.
The simple and neat shape of the three-floor exposed concrete building represents a mountain. The two high walls point directly to the Tapenkeng Site located on Guanyin Mountain, alluding to the time-link between Shihsanhang and Tapenkeng Cultures.
This representation of mountain and ocean meets in the octagon tower that links the past with the present and represents the passing of time. Designed to stand at an irregular angle of 17°, this structure alludes to the destruction of the historical remains and the impossibility of ever restoring the past. The arrangement of exhibitions in the building leads visitors through a series of different eras, allowing them to experience the passing of time and the lasting importance of each historical period.
The Shihsanhang Museum of Archaeology is also designed in such a way that its ground floor is located 1.5m under ground level. The walkway to the entrance, which first climbs and then gently slopes downwards, symbolizes the fact that one is about to enter a treasure trove unearthed by archaeologists.
The parts of the Museum that prove most popular with the public have been the “Whale Dune Observation Platform” and the angular irregular “Archaeological Octagon Tower”. These buildings are so distinctive that they received first place in the 2002 “Taiwan Architecture Prize,” and outstanding design in the 2003 “Far Eastern Architect Awards”.